Flex Under Pressure

Chazz Woodson - Words of Wisdom

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!

An Excerpt from Jay Bilas’ book, Toughness

In metallurgy – the science of metallic elements – toughness is a measure of how much energy a material can absorb before rupturing. Scientists have devised ways to measure a metal’s toughness through lab impact tests, such as swinging a hammer from a pendulum at a metal object to calculate how much energy is required to break the object.

In technical terms, toughness is a descriptor of how much energy a material can absorb before breaking. For example, if a material withstands a great deal of energy before breaking, then it is a tough material even if it bends and changes shape in the process.

Hardness – metallurgy, at least – is related to toughness, but it’s not the same thing. Hardness describes how much energy it takes to bend or change a material. If the material takes a lot of energy to change only a little, it is said to be hard. Conversely, if the material changes shape without much energy the material is not hard. Glass, for example, is hard because it takes energy to change its shape, but it breaks easily, so it’s not very tough. Rubber, on the other hand, isn’t usually hard. If some cases, we can call it soft. It bends and changes shape much more easily than glass, but it takes more energy to break it. So rubber is tougher.

The same terms are often used to describe people. We are hard or soft, tough or weak, but those qualities are harder to define and measure when applied to human beings. We all have images in our mind of characters that epitomize the classic and stereotypical “tough guy”: Rocky Balboa, Chuck Norris, or John Wayne.

In sports, I think of an ironman triathlete, a football player like Ray Lewis, a basketball player like Kobe Bryant, or baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, who played in a record 2,632 consecutive Major League Baseball games, In sports, we presume that it’s a positive to be hard, but I believe it’s much more important to be tough, or – in scientific terms – unbreakable.

In fact, I would argue that being able to bend or flex under pressure without breaking is a more important attribute than hardness. [A person] who bends without breaking and bounces back up will prevail over the hard [person] – someone who is resistant to bending under pressure but will break with enough force.

Make it a GREAT day!

Stay blessed.